Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hosanna to the Son of David.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Behold your king comes to you, O Zion,
meek and lowly, sitting upon an ass.
Ride on in the cause of truth
and for the sake of justice.
Your throne is the throne of God, it endures for ever;
and the sceptre of your kingdom is a righteous sceptre.
You have loved righteousness and hated evil:
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
Hosanna to the Son of David.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Gnosticism, Contemplative Prayer and Other "Christian Traditions"
March 31, 2007
by Marsha West

Christians are being exhorted to put their minds on hold through meditation and take a step into the supernatural realm. Is it biblical to connect with the supernatural realm? In an interview with Emergent leader Rob Bell, founding pastor of Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, MI, he made the following comment: “Central to the Christian tradition, for thousands of years, have been disciplines of meditation, reflection, silence, and breathing. It was understood that to be a healthy person, to be fully connected with God, and fully centered you would spend significant parts of your day in silence–breathing, meditating–praying allowing the Spirit of God to transform you and touch you.” So ordinary people spent significant parts of their day in silence, meditating?

Even if it were true, nowhere in the Bible are God’s people encouraged to stop using their minds and to connect with the supernatural world. Believers are to worship God with their heart, strength, mind and soul. In an altered state of consciousness the mind is not engaged, it’s blank!

For over two thousand years (not “thousands of years”) Christians have followed a whole host of unbiblical practices that God regards evil. But that hasn’t stopped untold numbers from participating. Example: Even though God forbids fortune telling (divination) countless people, including Christians, have visited mediums to “look into the future.”
the rest

Mormon Leaders at Home in Holy Land
The Associated Press
March 30, 2007

When Jeffrey R. Holland, a top Mormon leader, visited Jerusalem in 1987, he was besieged by thousands of Orthodox Jewish protesters who feared the church's new educational center here would be a base for missionary work. During a visit two decades later, Holland said he felt no such antagonism.

Though many Orthodox Jews remain wary of the 20 year Mormon presence here, others say the church has made good on its promise not to use Brigham Young University's Jerusalem Center _ recently reopened after a six-year security shutdown _ to proselytize.
the rest

Moveable feast
Life and faith are dishes served up one moment at a time

Andrée Seu

Whoever wants to live Christianity that's not a sham must reckon with a little noted peculiarity about life: It is a dish served up one moment at a time. Failure to reckon sufficiently with this fact renders faith an abstraction, and there is no such thing as faith in the abstract. There is faith or there is sentimentality.

Angels do not have to contend with this particular wrinkle of reality. And apart from the grace of God, I wonder if they do not wonder how Mary could sing the Magnificat at one moment and in a successive moment fret that her Son has gone mad. They must wonder why Solomon, Mr. Wisdom, proceeded to make such unwise choices in marriage and horse breeders. They must tremble at this created thing called Time when they see pastors—godly men for years—inexplicably fall into adultery.
the rest

New epidemic hits college campuses: Sex fairs
By Joey Kerlin
Mar 30, 2007

When we are children, our parents instruct us about life. Why the grass is green. How to shop for groceries. Why we have to pay taxes. How to drive a car. But of all the things that parents teach their children, instilling in them a sense of morality is the most important.

But there comes a day in a child's life which puts all those years of instruction to a test; a day when parents must simply have faith that they have taught their children well enough. This is the day that children leave home and go to college. In college, these young adults no longer have the immediate example of their parents to witness. And almost immediately, college students are approached by people offering all kinds of opportunities. Clubs to join. Protests to attend. Sports to participate in. Sadly, many of the things they will be approached with will not be so wholesome.
the rest

Boycott Homosexual 'Day of Silence,' Pro-Family Group Says
By Randy Hall Staff Writer Editor
March 30, 2007

( - A national pro-family coalition is calling on parents to keep their children home from school on April 18 to avoid the annual "Day of Silence," when some students and faculty members remain mute to "protest the oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth."

"Teenagers deserve an opportunity to study English, history, math and science -- without being subjected to pro-homosexual proselytizing sanctioned by school authorities," said Linda Harvey, president and founder of the conservative group Mission America, in a news release.

"In many cases, at the U.S. taxpayer's expense, the normal school day comes to a screeching halt in an effort to bring attention to the so-called 'hatred, bigotry and name calling' directed toward homosexual individuals," she noted.
the rest

Bishop Faces Uncertain Future
Episcopal leader fears split may be unavoidable.
By Cary McMullen
Ledger Religion Editor
Published Saturday, March 31, 2007

Uncertainty seems to be Bishop John Howe's companion these days.

Just returned from last week's meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops at a retreat center in Texas, Howe reflected this week on the continuing crisis within the American denomination and with its Anglican cousins overseas. Asked if a break within the Episcopal Church is now inevitable, the leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida sighed deeply.

"I don't know," he said after a moment. "Anglicans have been famous for finding some sort of middle ground. It's possible we may squeak through. But the long-predicted realignment is probably inevitable. What that means (for conservatives), I don't think anyone knows."

Howe has been a leader among conservatives opposed to the Episcopal Church's progressive policies toward homosexuals. The dispute has had international repercussions, with some American Episcopalians allying themselves with conservative archbishops from Africa and Latin America.
the rest

National Episcopal body to hear bishop's case
The head of the Pa. diocese is accused of allocating more than $6 million without proper authorization.

By David O'Reilly Inquirer Staff Writer
Sat, Mar. 31, 2007

A special committee of the Episcopal Church USA will consider allegations that Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. has spent more than $6 million in diocesan funds without proper authorization, and decide if he should face a church trial.

In an unrelated matter, the leaders of several major diocesan boards advised Bennison last week that the diocese faced a deficit of as much as $500,000 this year, and warned that it might not be able to pay bills by mid-summer.

Bennison, who heads the five-county Diocese of Pennsylvania, said yesterday he was confident he would not be charged and said he was working with diocesan leaders to resolve the financial crisis. He called the situation serious but said, "We will pay our bills."
the rest

Friday, March 30, 2007

"And He . . . wondered that there was no intercessor."
Isaiah 59:16

The reason many of us leave off praying and become hard towards God is because we have only a sentimental interest in prayer. It sounds right to say that we pray; we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial, that our minds are quieted and our souls uplifted when we pray; but Isaiah implies that God is amazed at such thoughts of prayer.

Worship and intercession must go together, the one is impossible without the other. Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray. Too often instead of worshipping God, we construct statements as to how prayer works. Are we worshipping or are we in dispute with God - "I don't see how You are going to do it." This is a sure sign that we are not worshipping. When we lose sight of God we become hard and dogmatic. We hurl our own petitions at God's throne and dictate to Him as to what we wish Him to do. We do not worship God, nor do we seek to form the mind of Christ. If we are hard towards God, we will become hard towards other people.

Are we so worshipping God that we rouse ourselves up to lay hold on Him so that we may be brought into contact with His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship to God, or are we hard and dogmatic?

"But there is no one interceding properly" - then be that one yourself, be the one who worships God and who lives in holy relationship to Him. Get into the real work of intercession, and remember it is a work, a work that taxes every power; but a work which has no snare. Preaching the gospel has a snare; intercessory prayer has none. ...Oswald Chambers

First Temple wall found in City of David
Mar. 30, 2007

A wall from the First Temple was recently uncovered in Jerusalem's City of David, strengthening the claim that it is the site of the palace of King David, an Israeli archeologist said Thursday.

The new find, made by Dr. Eilat Mazar, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center's Institute for the Archeology of the Jewish People, comes less than two years after she said she had discovered the palace's location at the site just outside the walls of the Old City.

The monumental 10th century BCE building found by Mazar in 2005 following a six month dig has ignited debate among archaeologists about whether it is indeed the palace built for the victorious David by King Hiram of Tyre as recounted in Samuel II:5.
the rest

Row over Schori's Primates Satement
March 30, 2007

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has qualified her support for the Primates’ Dar es Salaam communiqué, telling reporters her endorsement did not connote agreement,but signified her intention to act as the Primates’ messenger to the US House of Bishops.

In a March 21 conference call with reporters, Bishop Jefferts Schori said she backed the US House of Bishops’ decision to reject the pastoral council. Asked whether this support served to revoke her signature on the Primates’ communiqué,she responded that she had not signed the Feb 19 Dares Salaam statement.

Her assent had been given orally, she said. DrWilliams had gone aroundthe room asking each primate if they could live with this agreement. The Presiding Bishop said she told the primates: “I would bring thisback to the House of Bishops’ and “explain it” to them, and “seek the will of the House.” Asked to clarify her comments, she said the “best way to gain a consensus” among the Primates in Tanzania had been to support the communiqué, however,“she was not able to speak for the whole House of Bishops.”
the rest

Don Armstrong Writes His parish
March 30th, 2007

Dear Grace Parishioners,

As we approach Holy Week whereupon we reflect on the suffering of our Lord, let me begin by expressing my deep sorrow for your own suffering around the events currently playing out in the life of our parish. Clearly our common life has been under a spiritual attack for almost two years, the battle now expressing itself in defaming public accusations and sensational newspaper headlines.

I want to express my own heartfelt appreciation to those who have been so supportive of Jessie, Zachary, Melissa and me. I also want to express my understanding and compassion for those who feel angry, hurt, and confused.

It is clear, as I work through what are now formal accusations against me and about which you have been informed in a letter from the diocese, that there is nothing about these allegations that cannot be reasonably understood when all, not just some, of the facts are available. It is my own and the vestry’s intention to share with the congregation all the facts, and we are confident that the operation of our church and my participation in parish decisions will be fully exonerated.
the rest at titusonenine

Stand Firm: Audio: Interview with Fr. Don Armstrong

Bishop Cox Leaves The Episcopal Church

Concerned that his presentment trial would be a financial and public relations disaster for The Episcopal Church, retired Bishop William J. Cox informed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on March 29 that he had left The Episcopal Church and had been received into the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

“I don’t want a fight amongst Christians,” Bishop Cox told The Living Church. “I don’t hold a grudge against [Oklahoma] Bishop [Robert] Moody or [Kansas] Bishop [Dean] Wolfe for bringing charges against me.

“I would hope this transfer will enable me to be of service to congregations in this country that have already affiliated with the Southern Cone, but that decision will be up Archbishop [Gregory] Venables."
the rest

Living with Islamists
A year in Pakistan gave me a glimpse of what Christian witness might look like today.
Joshua T. White

What must we learn, and unlearn, to be agents of God's mission in the world? That is the Christian Vision Project's big question for 2007. Evangelical Christians have been learners in mission for several hundred years: learning new languages and cultures, and learning about our own cultures along the way. In the past few decades, though, an increasing number of young evangelicals have pursued advanced training in international relations and apprenticed at the highest levels of diplomacy and statecraft. Joshua T. White, a 27-year-old graduate fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement and a student at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, embodies this new generation of mission-minded Christians. As Josh's story shows, they bring with them a commitment to incarnational witness that transcends politics as usual.
the rest-excellent!

Doctor: Shorter Lifespan of Homosexuals has Adoption Implications

Christian Newswire/ -- "The life span of gays is 20-plus years shorter than the life span of heterosexuals," states Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute, a Colorado-based think tank. "This shortened lifespan," he warned, "has profound implications for adoption. On average, in Norway and Denmark -- where same-sex marriage is legal – married lesbians lived to age 56 and married gay men to age 52. So the chances that a gay-adopted child will lose one or both parents before graduating from high school are much greater than they would be with a married man and woman."

Cameron's remarks were based on a report he gave at the Eastern Psychological Association convention at its annual meeting in Philadelphia.

In this first report on deaths in same-sex marriage in Denmark and Norway, married gay men and lesbians lived about 24 fewer years than their conventionally married counterparts.

In Denmark, the country with the longest history of gay marriage, between 1990-2002, men married to women died at a median age of 74, while the 561 partnered gays died at a median age of 51. In Norway, men married to women died at a median age of 77 and the 31 gays at a median age of 52. In Denmark, women married to men died at a median age of 78 as compared to a median age of 56 for the 91 lesbians. In Norway, married women died at a median age of 81, as compared with 56 yr. for the 6 married lesbians.
the rest

Mexican bishops unbowed in abortion fight
In a press conference, the archbishop of Oaxaca said that those who seek the legalization of abortion "trample upon the rights of others." Church leaders seek reforms of healthcare and education.
Friday, March 30, 2007

Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez Botello of Antequera-Oaxaca said this week that even if voters approve of abortion, the Church will not accept the legalization of abortion, because “it is not a question of a majority of votes but rather of the principle of the right to life.”

The archbishop’s statements came in response to the Socialist party’s effort to legalize abortion in the Mexican capital. He said that those who seek the legalization of this practice demonstrate their lack of principle and their intent “to trample upon the rights of others.”

During a press conference, Archbishop Chavez Botello read a statement which he said was meant to provide “guidance and to point out the Church’s position on abortion, in view of the debate taking place in Mexico City.”
the rest

There Are No New Heresies --
New Thought Isn't New
Albert Mohler
Posted: Friday, March 30, 2007

False teachings emerge anew in every generation it seems, but inventing a new heresy is quite a challenge. After all, once every doctrine vital to Christianity has been denied, all that remains is a change in packaging.

That is what we see in the case of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, the nation's best-selling book. Millions of Americans are buying, reading, or talking about a book that repackages ancient paganism in the guise of positive thinking and mental energy. There is nothing here that is genuinely new (Byrne openly admits finding the "Law of Attraction" in a nineteenth century book). But, as the sales of The Secret now prove, a heresy does not have to be new to be attractive. the rest

Destruction of Non-Muslim Worship Centers Riles Faith Minorities in Malaysia
By Sean Yoong
Associated Press Writer
Fri, Mar. 30 2007

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) - The cavernous pink Putra Mosque with its soaring minaret is one of the most commanding sights and popular tourist photo backdrops in the new city of Putrajaya.

A Malaysian tourism flag is seen in front of the Petronas Twin Tower and the world's largest mobile ferris wheel, the ''Eye on Malaysia'' in Kuala Lumpur.

A house of worship for thousands of Muslims in the 8-year-old administrative capital of Malaysia, it is a showcase of the nation's dominant faith — Islam.

But the mosque also highlights the fact that Putrajaya doesn't have a single church or temple — a fact that minority Buddhists, Hindus and Christians see as one example of the second-class treatment other faiths get in this Muslim-majority country.
the rest

Grace Episcopal's wedding fast draws praise, wrath
By Nick Grabbe Staff Writer
Published on March 30, 2007

To some, the Rev. Robert Hirschfeld is a hero, a prophet, even a Gandhi.

Others call the rector of Grace Episcopal Church a demon, a moral anarchist, a promoter of eternal damnation.

Hirschfeld announced at a sermon March 11 that the church will take a "holy fast" from all weddings because Episcopal bishops do not allow marriages of gay and lesbian couples. He says he didn't know it would arouse such strong feelings and that he is uncomfortable with the extremities of praise and condemnation.
the rest

Church Times: Report collates views on gay people
by Pat Ashworth
30 March, 2007

THE ARCHBISHOP of Nigeria, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, has reiterated his view that homosexuality should be seen as “an acquired aberration”. To argue that is “a God-given urge and inclination” is “a blatant lie against Almighty God”, he says in a posting on the Anglican Communion Office website on Tuesday.

His views are at odds with the hope expressed by Dr Williams on Wednesday that the Church should be a “truly safe place for people to be honest and where they may be confident that they will have their human dignity respected”.

The comments come in a round-up of what different provinces have done in the official “Listening Process” on human sexuality, established after the last Lambeth Conference. The summaries were written by Canon Philip Groves, but seen and approved by each province.
the rest

Episcopal parish fragments further as two clergy leave
Rector's attorney says allegations likely slanderous

By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
March 30, 2007

The breakup of an Episcopal parish continued Thursday in Colorado Springs.

A priest and a deacon who were hired by the renegade rector, the Rev. Don Armstrong, have chosen to stand with the Episcopal Diocese rather than side with "the secessionist" Armstrong, the diocesan office confirmed.

The Rev. Michael O'Donnell, a priest, and the Rev. Sally Ziegler, a deacon, will join an alternative Palm Sunday service this weekend at 1 p.m. at Shove Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave., on the campus of Colorado College.

Both clergy were hired by Armstrong at the 2,000-member Grace and St. Stephen's church, which is now at the center of a bitter war between Armstrong and Colorado Bishop Rob O'Neill.
the rest

Canada: Anglicans to vote on controversial resolution
by Jim Coggins
March 29, 2007

CANADIAN ANGLICANS will soon vote on
a resolution which states that "the blessing of same-sex unions is consistent with the core doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada."

The vote will take place during the
General Synod, which meets every three years, and is the chief governing mechanism of the denomination in Canada. This year's synod will meet June 19 - 25 in Winnipeg.

The controversial resolution is one of five resolutions on the topic that were agreed on by the
Council of General Synod at a meeting March 8 - 11 in Mississauga, Ontario. The Council is a smaller body that serves as an executive between meetings of the General Synod.

The same-sex resolution, if passed, could sever the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) from many other national bodies throughout the worldwide Anglican communion; and it could cause some Canadian members to leave the church.
the rest

Should apes have human rights?
By Tom Geoghegan
BBC News Magazine

Apes and humans have common ancestors but should they have the same rights? An international movement to give them "personhood" is gathering pace.

What would Aristotle make of it? More than 2,000 years after the Greek philosopher declared Mother Nature had made all animals for the sake of man, there are moves to put the relationship on a more equal footing.

Judges in Austria are considering whether a British woman, Paula Stibbe, should become legal guardian of a chimpanzee called Hiasl which was abducted from its family tribe in West Africa 25 years ago.
the rest

BBC news:
Italy bishops face gay rights row
Storm in US over chocolate Jesus
Married lesbian accused of bigamy
Can Germany learn to live with Islam?

Breakaway Episcopal pastor accused of financial misdeeds
By Valerie Richardson
March 30, 2007

DENVER -- The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado is accusing the pastor of a conservative Colorado Springs parish of financial misconduct just days after the parish voted to secede over the church's liberal direction.

The diocese charged the Rev. Don Armstrong, rector of Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, the largest Episcopal parish in Colorado, with stealing and misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars over a 10-year period.

The accusations, sent in a letter to parishioners Wednesday, came two days after the parish's vestry voted to leave the Episcopal Church over issues of sexuality and biblical authority and unite with the Nigerian-led Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

At the same time, Mr. Armstrong, a nationally known spokesman for the conservative cause, took back control of the church after a four-month administrative leave, during which he was under investigation for misapplication of church funds. He has denied charges of financial impropriety, noting that his taxes and the church's finances are being independently audited. He plans to respond in detail to the charges at an April 14 public meeting.

He and his supporters have accused Bishop Robert O'Neill of trumping up charges as punishment for his refusal to toe the liberal diocese line.
the rest

Amazing Grace and Wilberforce Injecting New Life into Pro-Life Efforts
By Hilary White
LONDON, March 28, 2007

( – William Wilberforce, a twenty-one year old rookie politician in the cynical, corrupt, cutthroat world of 18th century British Parliamentary politics, dedicated his life to Christ. Through that conviction, he also became dedicated to the cause of human rights, the dignity of the person and the “reformation of manners,” which we now call “changing hearts and minds”. Against incredible odds, and after decades of work, he saw his legislation abolishing the African slave trade in the British Empire pass in 1807.

Released during a flurry of events and remembrances of the 200th anniversary of the ending of Britain’s involvement in the African slave trade, the movie of Wilberforce’s struggle, Amazing Grace, has done only moderately well at the box office. It is however being lauded in political and social activist circles. The film is making its biggest splash in Britain where it opened this weekend, playing in over 230 theatres and bringing in £430,000. the rest

The joyless fate of St. James Anglican church
Kelly Egan, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, March 30, 2007

The second last hymn ever sung in old St. James Church -- 184 years on -- was Faith of Our Fathers!, a dirgy effort that made for joyless irony.

Yesterday, before a crowd of 17, the Anglican church in downtown Hull was deconsecrated in a 20-minute ceremony that, despite the 23rd Psalm and a stirring organ, had a dry, judicial tone. The "whereases" did not help.

"They're taking God out of the church today," said Blaine Meadows, 51, an opponent to the closing with a deep family connection to St. James. He busied himself, before and after, taking final photos of the church's interior.
the rest

ENS: Retired Albany bishop joins Roman Catholic Church
Herzog to be removed from Episcopal ministry

By Mary Frances Schjonberg,
March 29, 2007

Daniel W. Herzog, the retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, New York, and his wife, Carol, have become Roman Catholics.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told Herzog in a March 28 letter (full text below) that she knows the couple’s decision was "made after careful prayer and consideration and so I wish you and Carol well as you enter another room in Christ's church."

"You were certainly a dynamic member of the House of Bishops and one who had a forceful and strong ministry," she wrote. "Your commitment to evangelism was notable. You will be missed."
"I know that prayers of many go with you and Carol as you journey on toward the final kingdom," the letter concluded.

Jefferts Schori said in a March 29 letter (full text below) to the House of Bishops that she received a letter from Herzog upon her return from the recent House of Bishops meeting telling her of the decision. She wrote that Herzog asked in his letter to be removed from the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church.
the rest

Retired Episcopal bishop joins Catholics
Herzog's move comes after turmoil from gay bishop ordination

First published: Friday, March 30, 2007

ALBANY -- Recently retired Albany Episcopal Bishop Daniel Herzog has rejoined the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Diocese announced Thursday.

The news comes just weeks after Herzog's former assistant bishop, David Bena, revealed his plans to transfer from the U.S. Episcopal Church to the Church of Nigeria.

Herzog's move means the "resignation of his orders as bishop, priest and deacon," his successor, Bishop William Love, explained in a letter posted on the diocese's Web site Thursday.

"As such, he will not be able to function in an ordained capacity within the diocese or larger Anglican Communion," Love wrote.
the rest

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered."—Hebrews 5:8.

We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of His own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, our Master's experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might. But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ's "being made perfect through suffering"—it is, that He can have complete sympathy with us. "He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, "I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and He suffers in me now; He sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong." Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in His steps. Find a sweet support in His sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing—to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does He honour us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings whom God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honoured. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." ...CH Spurgeon art

The Living Church news:

Bishop Herzog Joins the Roman Catholic Church

Colorado Bishop Accuses Priest of $1.1 Million in Fraud, Theft

Complaint Against Bishop Bennison Sent to Review Panel

Ruth Gledhill weblog: Rowan Williams to take three-month break
March 29, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury is taking 'study leave' in June and July. August will be his usual annual holiday. Apart from the Petertide ordinations at Canterbury Cathedral, Dr Rowan Williams will be dedicating June and July to academic study and spiritual reflection. Some of the time will be spent out of the country. Meanwhile, as Living Church reports, Bishop Herzog in the US has gone over to Rome.

the rest

When can clerks refuse to serve, citing religion?
By Jen Haberkorn
March 29, 2007

Can a cashier or clerk wish a customer "Merry Christmas"?

Must a pharmacist dispense birth control devices if his faith forbids it?

Can a Muslim clerk refuse to touch a whisky or beer bottle, or a pork chop?

Disputes between retailers and employees over religious beliefs in the United States can be traced back to the Puritans, who established laws that retail stores must not open on Sundays. Hundreds of years later, retailers are still dealing with how to address an employee's religious practices.

Religious discrimination complaints to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have been rising over the past 10 years. Last year, the EEOC received 2,541 complaints, up 48 percent from 1,709 in 1997.

The commission has found that about 60 percent of the cases have "no reasonable cause" and about 4 percent to 10 percent do have a reasonable cause.
the rest

New York bans only 'religious' groups
Public facilities available for all other users
Posted: March 29, 2007

A lawsuit has been filed in Watertown, N.Y., because the
Dulles State Office Building there – and other state buildings – have conference facilities that can be rented by anyone – except churches.

"The state of New York, over the last 20 years, has been the worst place for equal access," said Jordan Lorence, senior counsel with the
Alliance Defense Fund, which is working on the case on behalf of Relevant Church.

"Even though there have been five major Supreme Court decisions from 1981 that you cannot treat religious users with religious speech worse than everyone else, nonetheless these policies persist," he told WND.
the rest

Surging China: a Waffle, Not a Pancake
by Marvin Olasky
Posted: 03/29/2007

The most important development for the future of the world has been one of the least reported.

By the end of this century China is likely to be the world's leading economic and military power, a perilous situation for the United States if China is hostile to us. But if the enormous but little-reported surge of Christianity in China continues -- one Beijing official recently estimated the number of Chinese Christians is now 125 million -- then the two superpowers will probably have friendly relations.

So what's happening on the other side of the world?

First, Chinese communists are trying to stop a charging water buffalo with a peashooter. Government officials arrested 600 Christians last year, according to the U.S.-based China Aid Society. They'd have to arrest 6 million to slow down Christianity's wildfire spread. the rest

Church Challenged to Be 'Safe Place' for Homosexuals, Says Anglican Head
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Mar. 29 2007

The Church is challenged to show that it is truly a safe place for people to be honest and where they may be confident that they will have their human dignity respected, said the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams spoke just after the Anglican Communion made available an interim report on churches' commitment to listen to the experience of homosexual people.

"The commitments of the Communion are not only to certain theological positions on the question of sexual ethics but also to a manifest and credible respect for the proper liberties of homosexual people," Williams stated.
the rest

Bishop Love Writes to the Diocese of Albany: Bishop Herzog turns to Rome
Priest and Deacon's Update
Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Upon my arrival home from the House of Bishop's meeting, I received the attached letter from Bishop Dan, informing me that after a three and half year long period of focused prayer and study, he and Carol have decided to return to their roots and be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. While I respect Bishop Dan and Carol's decision, it is with great sadness that I receive and pass on this news.

I know this was not an easy decision, nor was it made without great personal cost. Unfortunately, unlike Bishop Bena's decision to transfer to the Church of Nigeria, continuing as a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion, Bishop Dan's decision has necessitated the resignation of his orders as bishop, priest and deacon. As such, he will not be able to function in an ordained capacity within the Diocese or larger Anglican Communion.

Dan and Carol have been and continue to be good friends of the Diocese of Albany and will always be welcome at all functions in the Diocese. Their decision to return to Rome was not and should not be seen as an attack or lack of love or concern for the Diocese of Albany. As we continue to hold Dan and Carol up in our thoughts and prayers, may God bless them richly in His love and mercy and grace.

The recent retirement and subsequent departure of both Bishop Dan and Bishop Dave from the Episcopal Church, can't help but have a major impact on each of us and our Diocese. One of my greatest concerns, as your new Bishop, is that others in the Diocese are also struggling with the current issues that threaten to divide the Church. Please know that I am here for you as we work through these issues.

As your bishop and brother in Christ, I appreciate and give thanks to God for you and every member of our diocesan family. I need you as we move forward. We are blessed with being in a wonderful, Christ-centered, Spirit-filled Diocese. The Lord is doing mighty things in the Diocese of Albany and has even greater plans for the future. It is absolutely essential that we stick together, as one body in Christ, loving, supporting and upholding one another as we answer our Lord's call to act in faith and obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit, living the Great Commandment and Great Commission.

May our Lord Jesus Christ bless us and use us mightily in His service and always to His glory and the benefit of His Church.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,

Bishop of Albany

Letter from Dan Herzog to Bishop Love
March 19, 2007

Dear Bishop Bill,

I have written to the Presiding Bishop to advise her that last week Carol and I were received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This action is the result of three and a half years of focused prayer and study. There is a sense of joyful contentment in being in union with the office of Peter and the universal church. There is also an element of sadness at losing a special connection with the devoted clergy and outstanding lay leaders serving Christ in the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, and the Anglican Communion

You and many others are aware of the turmoil which has enveloped the Episcopal Church since the decisions and actions of the General Convention in 2003. That turmoil was not merely external. It also caused a lot of hidden tears. To my mind, the power which the Convention claimed to exercise in fact negated any previous authority on which I had relied. It caused me to engage in a fresh examination of apostolic teaching and authority.

In spite of my personal grief over all this, my sense of duty to the Diocese, its clergy and people required that I not walk away from my office and leave vulnerable this diocese which I love. I believed that it was my responsibility to provide for a transition to the future. Your subsequent election and consecration discharged that duty and has given me the liberty to follow my conscience, and now resign my orders and membership in the House of Bishops.

It is certainly no reflection on you or your ministry which Carol and I both admire and respect and for which we pray daily. Needless to say, we have only fondness and appreciation for you and the Diocese in whose ministry Carol and I have invested the past thirty-five years of our lives.

We have now an even greater incentive to pray for that unity which Christ willed for His church, a unity embedded in that faith once delivered to the saints.

With every wish for a holy celebration of Jesus' resurrection, I remain,

In Christ,
Daniel W. Herzog

NOW Demands Access to Program Geared to Fathers
Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's called the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, and the Bush administration doles out up to $50 million annually to fund its programs to build job skills and help fathers connect better with their children. But the National Organization for Women says the effort is illegal because it's only about men.

NOW and Legal Momentum, another advocacy group, filed complaints yesterday with the Department of Health and Human Services alleging sex discrimination in the initiative that is funding about 100 programs this year.

The complaints cite 34 programs, including one run by the District and two others in the Washington area, that, they say, do not offer the services to women. That, the groups say, violates Title IX, the law that prevents sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and is best known for forcing universities to offer comparable sports programs for men and women. the rest

DA declines to seek murder charges in abortion case
Woman accused of using pills to end pregnancy

By Raja Mishra, Globe Staff
March 29, 2007

An 18-year-old Dominican immigrant charged two months ago with illegally inducing an abortion by taking anti-ulcer pills will not face homicide charges, prosecutors said yesterday.

Prosecutors had been considering the more serious charge after Amber Abreu prematurely delivered a 1-pound girl named Ashley at Lawrence General Hospital on Jan. 6. She died four days later. Abreu, a Lawrence resident, allegedly admitted that she had taken three Cytotec pills before giving birth, an abortion method that is common in some Latin American communities, authorities said.

Abortion is illegal in Massachusetts after 24 weeks of pregnancy, and any action to cause a miscarriage after that threshold could lead to homicide charges.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The supreme test of goodness is not in the greater but in the smaller incidents of our character and practice; not what we are when standing in the searchlight of public scrutiny, but when we reach the firelight flicker of our homes; not what we are when some clarion-call rings through the air, summoning us to fight for life and liberty, but our attitude when we are called to sentry-duty in the grey morning, when the watch-fire is burning low. It is impossible to be our best at the supreme moment if character is corroded and eaten into by daily inconsistency, unfaithfulness, and besetting sin. ...FB Meyer photo

Matt Kennedy: Thank You Bishops: Orthodox Unity Restored
March 28, 2007

The bishops’ rejection of the Pastoral Scheme has done more for orthodox unity in North America than anything since the election of Gene Robinson. For the first time since Camp Allen 1, I made it through not only
one but two essays by Dr. Ephraim Radner and one by Dr. Seitz without one substantive objection and not a few Amen’s.

the rest at Stand Firm

'Just let us vote' Supporters rally for action on same-sex marriage ban
By Lesley Stedman Weidenbener

INDIANAPOLIS -- More than 1,000 people cheered a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage yesterday and called on the House to provide the final legislative approval needed to put the issue on the ballot.

"If they don't, they are keeping people from expressing an opinion about right and wrong," Wayne Murray of Greenwood said at the rally at the Statehouse. He carried a sign that read, "Just let us vote."

But the fate of the amendment remains unclear. The House Rules Committee chairman was silent yesterday on his plans for the proposal.
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Colorado Episcopal raises allegations of financial misconduct against breakaway parish leader
The Associated Press
Published: March 28, 2007

DENVER: The leader of a conservative breakaway Episcopal parish will face allegations of financial misconduct in the Colorado Diocese judicial system, officials said Wednesday amid an escalating dispute over homosexuality and other issues.

The diocese also said it may take action in state court to reclaim the parish property if leaders do not relinquish their claims to it.

Leaders of Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish in Colorado Springs, the state's largest Episcopal parish, voted Monday to leave the denomination and join a conservative Anglican church based in Nigeria. They were upset over what they considered the liberal theological direction of the national church, particularly its acceptance of homosexuality.

They also criticized the "kangaroo court" investigation of their rector, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, over allegations of financial improprieties. The diocese suspended him Jan. 3 and barred him from the parish property because of the investigation.
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Teens Rally Against an 'Un-Christian' Culture
A boy prays at the BattleCry rally in San Francisco, Calif


March 28, 2007 — One recent weekend at San Francisco's AT&T Park, almost 25,000 teens gathered to proclaim their faith and devotion to God, all while rejecting the negative influences of today's pop culture. The two-day concert event is known as BattleCry and takes place almost every weekend around the country.

"The media is just cramming garbage down their throat. … It is absolutely immoral. I wish it was illegal, but the whole idea is we have people making money, not caring what they are doing, what they are doing to kids," said Ron Luce, the founder of BattleCry.

Watch the story tonight on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. EDT

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CANADA: Anglican Theological Commission clarifies provenance of same-sex blessings resolutions
March 28, 2007

[Anglican Church of Canada] The Primate's Theological Commission, a group appointed by the Anglican Church of Canada's Primate to consult on theological matters, has released a clarification concerning resolutions on the blessing of same-gender unions approved in early March by the church's governing council.

The resolutions, approved by the Council of General Synod for the consideration of the church's General Synod in the summer of 2007, have been described as dealing with The St. Michael Report. But in fact only one of them does, the commission says in its statement.

The St. Michael Report was produced by the theological commission as a result of the Anglican Primate, on direction from the General Synod, seeking its opinion on whether or not the blessing of same-gender unions is a matter of doctrine. The commission, chaired by Bishop Victoria Matthews of Edmonton, concluded in its report released in 2005 "that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine but is not core doctrine in the sense of being credal."
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Episcopal diocese threatens to sue breakaway parish leaders
Vote to secede Episcopal Church may bring lawsuits
By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News

March 28, 2007

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado is threatening to sue the Rev. Don Armstrong and his parish's governing board if they don't relinquish control of one of the largest and most venerable churches, Grace and St. Stephen's in Colorado Springs.

The showdown looms on Palm Sunday as Episcopal Bishop Rob O'Neill or a representative and Armstrong, his longtime nemesis, both plan to take control of the parish pulpit at the 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 11 a.m. services.

By then, O'Neill, who may or may not be there himself, intends to have a new priest and a new vestry board in place at the 2,000-member church, communications director Beckett Stokes said Tuesday.
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Church must be ‘safe place’ for gay and lesbian people
Wednesday 28th March 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has said that the churches of the Anglican Communion must be safe places for gay and lesbian people. His comments come in a welcome to an interim report on the Anglican Communion’s Listening Process, a commitment to listen to the experience of homosexual people. Dr Williams warns that the challenge to create the safe space for their voices to be heard and for their dignity to be respected is based on a fundamental commitment of the Communion.

““ The commitments of the Communion are not only to certain theological positions on the question of sexual ethics but also to a manifest and credible respect for the proper liberties of homosexual people, a commitment again set out in successive Lambeth Conference Resolutions over many decades. I share the concerns expressed about situations where the Church is seen to be underwriting social or legal attitudes which threaten these proper liberties. It is impossible to read this report without being aware that in many places – including Western countries with supposedly ‘liberal’ attitudes – hate crimes against homosexual people have increased in recent years and have taken horrifying and disturbing forms.
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Anglicans Fully Open Human Sexuality Talks
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Mar. 28 2007

The Anglican Communion has fully opened discussions and study on human sexuality on Tuesday when it made individual reports from member churches across the globe available on the Internet.

Called "The Listening Process," a 1998 mandate has led to the culmination of months of work on drawing upon public statements and research into the controversial issue of homosexuality. Each of the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces have released summaries on the matter for the entire Communion to study.

"In the cultures of Central Africa homosexuality is not something talked about. It is known in the prisons and cases are reported to those in authority. It is also known in the community, but it is often not acknowledged or named and when it is named, it is named negatively," stated the report by the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

The African province indicated that it is beginning to consider how it might enter into a listening process to the experience of homosexuals and other Anglican churches and that it should not be a hurried process.
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The Rise of Infanticide?
Albert Mohler
Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A spate of murdered babies has shocked Germany in recent weeks.
The Times [London] reports that at least 23 babies have been killed this year, "many of them beaten to death or strangled by their mothers before being dumped on wasteland and in dustbins." German officials believe the total number of babies killed this year to be even higher than what has been reported.

Police investigating the murders are at a loss to explain the sudden surge in such cases, which have involved mothers of all ages all over the country.

Now city councils have launched an advertising campaign to highlight the problem and to promote greater use of the Baby-Klappe hatches that allow women to drop off their babies to be found and cared for without having to give their names. Posters were being put up in cities and towns across Germany yesterday, urging women to make use of the Baby-Klappe, with the slogan "Before babies land in the rubbish bin . . ."
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Switched-On Book
Is the Sony Reader the library of the future?

by David Skinner

Advertisements for the Sony Reader, a hand-held device for perusing e-books, show pretty, natural settings where fans of literature might go and read away to their brain's content. The marketers of portable technology have long suggested a kind of objective correlative between the pleasure one takes in their products and the places they are used. So marking up spreadsheets on your laptop while reclining on a tropical beach is much more like reclining on a tropical beach than it is like marking up spreadsheets.

Readers should be less susceptible than others to such hidden persuasion. First, it's not as if books themselves aren't, for the most part, already portable. And second, location is usually irrelevant to the quality of one's reading experience. The new Mitch Albom is going to be just as awful to read on the subway as in a deck chair, feet up, overlooking the crystal waters of Lake Tahoe.

So the virtues of portability are being exaggerated, but the Sony Reader has other selling points; above all, its potential to reduce the clutter of books. For me, the perfect advertisement for this device would be a picture of my bedstand without its ever-present leaning tower of literature. More reading, the tagline would say, fewer books.
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Catholic-Muslim turf war still resonates at Cordoba cathedral
The scuffle over La Mezquita is echoed throughout Spain these days as members of each faith tests the other's tolerance.
By Tracy Wilkinson, Times Staff Writer
March 28, 2007

CORDOBA, SPAIN — Mansur Escudero knew the answer before he asked.

Approaching the guard at Cordoba's majestic once-a-mosque, now-a-cathedral, Escudero posed the question: May I say Muslim prayers inside?

The slightly startled Spanish guard gave an emphatic no. This is a Catholic church, he said, and as such it is absolutely prohibited to pray in any other faith. Escudero persisted, but the guard was firm.

This is a cathedral, the guard repeated, growing more agitated: "A CA-THO-LIC CHURCH."The 1,200-year-old architectural wonder that is one of Spain's most renowned landmarks is at the center of a turf war over religious space, cultural recognition and rivalries that are both ancient and contemporary.sts the other's tolerance.
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Vatican to UN: "First Right of Children is that of Being Born"
By John-Henry Westen
GENEVA, March 27, 2007

( - "The first right of children is that of being born and educated in a welcoming and secure family environment where their physical, psychological and spiritual growth is guaranteed, their potential is developed and where the awareness of personal dignity becomes the base for relating to others and for confronting the future." The statement was made during a March 23 address by Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See (Vatican) permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva, who spoke during the 4th session of the Human Rights Council.

Archbishop Tomasi recalled that "the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child attributes to the child the fundamental rights of a person; it recognizes the child to have the same equality and dignity as any adult person."

"In many cases," he went on, "due to lack of will and of resources, good legal provisions and public policies are not implemented, with grave consequences for children. They often become the first victims of famines and wars."
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Spitzer vows to guard abortion rights
Governor, worried a conservative high court will limit Roe vs. Wade, promises to enhance state statutes

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

ALBANY -- Gov. Eliot Spitzer pledged Monday to strengthen state laws to safeguard abortion rights in New York if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or limits the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision.

Speaking to abortion-rights activists at Family Planning Advocates' annual conference, Spitzer said he fears the appointment of conservative judges to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bush could put the 1973 decision in jeopardy.

Existing state statutes "do not go far enough," Spitzer said, adding: "So we will make it our vision this term, this year to expand New York's law to give us all the protections that are necessary."
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New church hopes to build relations with other congregation
Wednesday, Mar 28, 2007

It’s enough to give the general public a theological headache.

While the congregation that renamed itself St. John’s Anglican Church on Dec. 17 continues to meet at 40 Fifth St., another congregation bearing the church’s former name, St. John’s Episcopal Church, has splintered off and is meeting in members’ homes.

Actual ownership of the Fifth Street property is being disputed, and may have to be determined in the courts. And contrary to the understanding of the leadership of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, the rector of St. John’s Anglican Church, the Rev. David Miller, claims that he did not renounce his ordination and orders in the Episcopal Church, although he requested temporary shelter for his congregation within the Diocese of Argentina.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What are you afraid of? Let God act. Abandon yourself to Him. You will suffer, but you will suffer with love, peace and consolation. You will fight, but you can carry off the victory, and God Himself, after having fought with you, will crown you with His own hand. You will weep, but your tears will be sweet, and God Himself will come with satisfaction to dry them. You will not be free any longer to give yourself up to your tyrannic passions, but you will sacrifice your liberty freely, and you will enter into a new liberty unknown to the world, in which you will do nothing except for love. ...Francois Fenelon the rest

Ephraim Radner: What Way Ahead – Part Two
March 27th, 2007

It is a maddening time within American Anglicanism. Even in the last few days, there is a new restlessness born of the energies of sorrow and hope both, as they seek some resolved path ahead. A few days ago, I wrote about the need to take this time seriously indeed. I wrote in terms of conservative presence within the Episcopal Church, and its now apparent incongruity with the official structures of our leadership. “Normative Christianity” (as one friend has put it) has been demoted and even banished: the Episcopal Church has declared independence. We must take our stands.

Thus, we are no longer in a position to avoid making conscious and determined choices regarding our vocation as Anglican Christians within the Episcopal Church. From one perspective, that has always been the case. The faithful are called to know what they are about, to “count the cost” of their following of our Lord. But at least from the perspective of the larger church of which we are a part – the Anglican Communion – some of those choices have remained provisional, in large part because, although the stakes have been clear enough, the paths offered for acting responsibly and in concert with brothers and sisters within the larger church have not been practically articulated. Many individuals and congregations have therefore been in a position of choosing their way in a fashion that has, by the nature of the moment, been more or less idiosyncratic. This time of obvious provisionality is now past.

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The Living Church News

Dallas, Fort Worth Dioceses Expand Oversight Provisions

Two Texas bishops have expanded an 11-year-old plan for alternate episcopal oversight. In place since 1996, the “Dallas Plan,” praised recently by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s
Panel of Reference, provides for women in the Diocese of Fort Worth who seek ordination to the priesthood to be referred to the Bishop of Dallas. Citing “pastoral concern” for one of his parishes, Bishop James M. Stanton of Dallas approached Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Fort Worth late last year to amend their agreement so that aspirants and parishes in Diocese of Dallas who do not approve the ordination of women might come under Bishop Iker’s episcopal care.

The expanded “Dallas/Fort Worth Plan” was conceived by the bishops this month and has been immediately implemented. St. Francis’ Church, Dallas, now is under Bishop Iker’s pastoral care. Under the agreement, the parish’s annual assessment will be divided equally between the dioceses. Its property continues to belong to the Diocese of Dallas.
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New York Cathedral Transformed for Elton John's Birthday Party

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City was the site of pop singer Elton John’s 60th birthday party on March 25.

Details about the celebration were reported in several articles on the singer’s official website. “Elton marked the eve of his 60th birthday last night with a star-studded private dinner for friends and family in the world’s biggest cathedral,” stated one of them.
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Gays arrested at Ky. seminary sit-in
By DYLAN T. LOVAN Associated Press Writer
Mar 26

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Members of a gay rights group were arrested Monday after staging a sit-in at a Baptist seminary whose president is drawing criticism for his comments on prenatal treatments that would influence a child's sexual orientation.

The group, Soulforce, attempted to meet with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's president, the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., an influential evangelical leader.

Twelve were charged with criminal trespassing - a misdemeanor - and booked into jail, Louisville police said.

The sit-in in front of Mohler's office lasted about two hours, said Jarrett Lucas, a co-director of a Soulforce tour that is visiting Christian colleges.
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Bishop Ackerman was interviewed by Anne Coletta for AnglicanTV on March 24, 2007, at Blessed Sacrament Episcopal Church in Placentia, California (Diocese of Los Angeles).

Courtesy of AnglicanTV

Planned Parenthood Launches 'Pill Patrol' Campaign
By Susan Jones Senior Editor
March 26, 2007

( - Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, has launched a "pill patrol" campaign to make sure emergency contraception is available in every neighborhood in America.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved over-the-counter sales of Plan B emergency contraception for women 18 and older last August. But Planned Parenthood complains that not all pharmacies are stocking the drug."Every day in America, women are forced to play the lottery when they walk into their neighborhood pharmacies and ask for Plan B emergency contraception (EC)," Planned Parenthood said on its website.
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ENS: Video interview with the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Click here.

Group says 'hate crimes' bill an impending threat to Christians
Jim Brown
March 27, 2007

The head of a Washington-based pro-family group is urging opposition to federal "hate crimes" legislation she fears will soon be approved by the Democrat-led Congress -- and that bill, she believes, threatens the free-speech rights of those who strongly oppose homosexuality.

Representatives John Conyers (D - Michigan) and Mark Kirk (R - Illinois) have reintroduced the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The bill would include crimes against homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgenders in federal hate crimes statutes. Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), contends the ultimate goal of the bill is to silence anyone who believes homosexuality is a sin.
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NYT: For Some Black Pastors, Accepting Gay Members Means Losing Others
Published: March 27, 2007

ATLANTA — When the Rev. Dennis Meredith of Tabernacle Baptist Church here began preaching acceptance of gay men and lesbians a few years ago, he attracted some gay people who were on the brink of suicide and some who had left the Baptist faith of their childhoods but wanted badly to return.

At the same time, Tabernacle Baptist, an African-American congregation, lost many of its most loyal, generous parishioners, who could not accept a message that contradicted what they saw as the Bible’s condemnation of same-sex relations. Over the last three years, Tabernacle’s Sunday attendance shrank to 800, from 1,100.

The debate about homosexuality that has roiled predominantly white mainline churches for years has gradually seeped into African-American congregations, threatening their unity, finances and, in some cases, their existence.
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